An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the kids that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run they all took each other hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treat.
When he asked them why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for himself they said: Ubuntu.
Ubuntu in the Xhosa culture means: “I am because we are.”
In terms of learning and reinvent the future, the first principle that we need to revisit is that of collaboration. Individually, human beings are not smart but collectively, we are very clever. If we are not building learning community collaboratively, we will not be smart as we should be.
“Cogito, ergo sum” which means “I think, therefore I am," a dictum coined by the French philosopher René Descartes in his Discourse on Method (1637) as a first step in demonstrating the attainability of certain knowledge. Similarly, learning is also about thinking which makes us arrive at the second principle of learning: Learning to think!
Andrew shares the example of one of the most famous and successful CEOs, Jack Welch. Welch took the reins of GE in 1981 and took it from 13Bn to 480Bn when he stepped down. How did he bring GE to such profits? The reasons can be innumerable but one of the most contributing factors to this success was by creating learning coaches. He challenged every employee in his firm to ask themselves “Will what I’m doing right now result in a win for the company?” This is what we call reflection. This suggests that every time we did do something, we need to debrief and reflect on “what we are doing is a win for the company or not?”
Andrew in his key note at a recent event left the leaders and L&D practitioners will the three driving principles that will help organizations to not only survive but thrive:
- Ubuntu: Collaborate
- Think: Learn to think and not remember facts
- Reflect: Will what I’m doing right now result in a win for the company?
In this session, Andrew also emphasized on the fact of constantly reinventing oneself. Peter Senge who coined the word ‘learning organization’ described it as a group of people working together collectively to enhance their capacities continuously to create results they really care about. Reinventing is the new condition. We have observed some really successful businesses like Kodak, Blockbuster, etc. failing as they botched to reinvent. These cases make stress on learning makes business sense! It is more than imperative for organizations to constantly invest in learning and transform.